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Albion mourn Stan Rickaby

3 March 2014

Club pay tribute to former right-back

ALBION are mourning the loss of former player Stan Rickaby, who has passed away at the age of 89.

The right-back was a loyal servant to the club, making 205 appearances and scoring twice during five years at The Hawthorns.

The England international also collected a 1954 FA Cup-winners’ medal after playing in every round before cruelly missing out on the final due to injury.

Our thoughts are with Stan’s family and friends at this difficult time. The club will pay tribute to Stan’s career at Saturday’s home game with Manchester United.

Stan emigrated to Australia in 1969 where he lived until his death. 

Below is a full tribute to Stan’s time at Albion, written by publications editor Dave Bowler.

STAN RICKABY (1924-2014)

The sad death of Stan Rickaby, shortly before his 90th birthday, cuts the final chord of connection with Albion’s celestial ‘Team of the Century’ of 1953/54, the XI that habitually lined up as Heath; Rickaby, Millard; Dudley, Dugdale, Barlow; Griffin, Ryan, Allen, Nicholls, Lee.

It was a team of all the talents that came within a whisker of carrying off the 20th century’s first League and FA Cup double, an ambition that was only halted by an injury crisis that beset the club in the final weeks of the campaign. 

Stan himself fell victim to the curse as the club’s title chase was derailed in the final games, but his fate was to be worse than that which befell a number of the others. Along with goalkeeper Norman Heath, Stan missed out on the FA Cup Final itself when Albion ensured that at least one of the season’s two trophies would reside in The Hawthorns’ boardroom.

That Albion side under Vic Buckingham was something new and special in English football, a team that operated under continental lines, imbued with the spirit of the all-conquering Hungarians that smashed England’s self-image of invincibility in November of that season by winning 6-3 at Wembley.

Albion played a fresh, progressive style, breaking free of the shackles of playing by rote, according to the shirt number on your back. A right-back such as Rickaby was a defender first and foremost, of course, but beyond that, he was now free to use his strength and pace to go past the halfway line and combine with the wing-halves and the forward line, wreaking havoc as he went.

Born in Stockton-on-Tees, Rickaby joined the Throstles from Middlesbrough for £7,500 in February 1950, initially as reserve to Jim Pemberton. But he wasted little time supplanting him in the Albion team, playing 143 consecutive league games from August 1950 through to November 1953. This formed the bulk of a grand total of 205 senior appearances for the Albion, during which he scored two goals, the first on Christmas Day 1952, in a 3-2 reverse at Bolton, the second in a 4-2 triumph over Sheffield Wednesday in February 1954. 

After missing out on that 1954 Cup Final, Stan returned to the side at the start of the following season, though he was now embroiled in a real fight for the shirt with Stuart Williams, while the youthful Don Howe was also appearing on the horizon. 

So it was that at the end of the 1954/55 campaign, aged just 31, he left Albion. He was player/manager at Poole Town for a time, played for Weymouth and Newton Abbott Spurs thereafter, before going into business upon his retirement in 1964. Stan emigrated to Australia in 1969 and lived there until his death. 

Rest easy Stan.

(A full tribute to Stan Rickaby will be published in Saturday’s edition of 'Albion News).

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